This was previously published on Eat. Greg. Eat!
Part of the fun of staying in a hotel is occasionally ordering room service.
What goes on in the privacy of your hotel room is between you and whatever lord you hold holy. I started out Presbyterian, was raised Mormon, resulting in Atheism. Not sure in which house I heard my Sunday School teacher tell me that when you (he pointed right at me) die, God plays a movie of your life. Every single bad thing you have ever done is watched by your family, everyone you have ever known, and complete strangers. Your shame will be broadcast on a huge screen, in Dolby digital surround sound. The angels will tsk tsk and your mother’s jaw will drop as you drop your trousers on the big screen for the umpteenth time. There will be constant whispers of I knew it! from the audience.
I believed this for a long time. However, I slowly grew to realize that what I might have heard the teacher say, was that we were going to watch a movie. Maybe I took that seed and it grew into the whole movie-of-your-life idea. The genesis of my religious philosophy might have been the result of communion wine so cheap it can cause hallucinations, served even to Presbyterian children with little regard for their sanity.
Somewhere along the line, all gays watch Mame, and we learn the truth. I am responsible for my own actions, and this is my own, one life. I am not coming back as an Egyptian slave, your cat or a louvered door, so I choose to live it up.
This same philosophy is held by hotel guests. In exchange for the money they pay for a room, everything that happens in there, stays there. If that weren’t the case, black light wands would detect sunshine and happiness when passed over a Hilton bedspread, not remnants of a teenage hooker’s life and DNA so perverted your eyes bruise, causing thoughts so foul you can smell them.
I worked in room service at Morgan’s Hotel in NYC in the 80s. Break that sentence down, and add it was wild after every other word. Sprinkle the sentence with immoral and illegal. If a guest checked into the hotel with drugs, and a bellman sneaked into their room and stole the drugs, who are they going to call?
The maids were the first on the scene to find evidence of foul play. Guests tended to abandon porn magazines like Red Hot Milky Mamas featuring lactating women, rather than take them back home to be discovered by their wives, mothers, or airport security personnel. I can see the young, clean cut businessman from Ohio, rushing to catch his flight home. His suitcase falls open, sending his filthy magazines scattering onto the airport floor, along with the doll he bought for his daughter.
Morgan’s housekeepers were all recent Chinese immigrants, and these meek, quiet, giggling, women had not seen anything like this back in their country. It all makes sense now — if they could clean up a US hotel room, they can take over the world.
A rumor spread like gossip about a guest in Room 1103. He kept flashing his staff to the hotel staff who serviced his room. Both his bold act and rumored penis size were impressive. I heard. He would call the front desk and report trouble with his television. When the engineer arrived, he found the TV simply unplugged. The engineer would plug it in, and when he turned to stand, the guest would be naked. The engineer left politely. Soon, the guest would order room service. When one of my team members arrived, the flasher would be in a complimentary hotel robe. Perfectly normal, they were cushy cotton robes, available for purchase upon checkout. But when the waiter put the dinner tray down on the desk and turned around, he faced a tip. And the rest of the guest’s penis. This went on for about two weeks. Another waiter saw it at least six times. He had become blasé about it.
I had to see it. I had missed so many opportunities and I was afraid he was going to check out or get beat up by that one mean Russian engineer. One night, I got excited when an order came in for Room 1103. A Coke. That was it. Who orders a Coke from room service? A pervert. That Coke probably cost ten times its street value, but he obviously didn’t care. I tossed caution to the wind, and braced myself as I rode up in the elevator, holding that huge tray with that little bottle of Coke and lone glass of ice. I was in NYC, living the big city dream.
I knocked on the door. He answered wearing just a towel, not the bathrobe I was expecting. That took me a back a bit, but I walked in confidently, noticing that he was more handsome than I thought he would be. I had imagined him the kind of guy who would be, but shouldn’t be, nude on the beach. I pictured him all humpy, living in his mother’s basement, and all his friends were creepy, too. But he looked like a regular guy. I crossed to the desk like the scene had been blocked by a skilled director and I knew the actor’s next line.
I would turn and his towel would drop, revealing his massive member. I would gasp, slap the demented but hung man with my imaginary hand, telling him that I wasn’t that kind of boy, and leave. You can open your own Coke! would be my stinger of an exit line.
I was glad my back was to him and that I had business to do, as it hid the fact that I was a little nervous—we all are our first time. Instead of fumbling with buttons or a bra closure, I shakily moved the Coke bottle off the tray. He spoke before I even turned around. Let me get my robe. And he did. He wrapped the belt tightly around his waist as he signed the bill, and I left as if I had just delivered eggs to a middle-American family. As I walked to the elevator, two room service cohorts surprised me by jumping from a hallway where they had been hiding while I got non-flashed. They wanted to see my reaction to the flasher.
I let those amazingly supportive guys down. And myself. I felt so dejected by the flasher’s rejection. Sure, there would be other times, my pals assured me, as we rode down the elevator. I was too good for that small town perv, they told me.
The general manager asked the guest to leave a couple of days later, claiming the housekeepers were freaking out.
What a way to honor the hotel room no-holds-barred attitude. God love him, I am sure the advent of the internet was his biggest blessing. He is now free to practice his beliefs in his mother’s own home. He was my first pervert, but I was not his.
In a hotel, I am the guy who messes up both sides of the bed so the maid doesn’t think I slept alone. I also remove any suspect garbage myself. And when I order room service, I am sensitive to the waiter and any trepidation they might feel about knocking on the door of a stranger’s bedroom. I make sure there are plenty of lights on, and there is no evidence of a good, relaxed time in my room. We do our business, I sign the bill and escort them out.
If this sounds like boring sex, I guess perhaps I did listen in Sunday School.
Image credit: Matt Phillips/Flickr